“Husband and wife cake” or “Banh phu the” is a traditional Vietnamese sweet cake, it basically means “Husband and wife cake. (“Phu” and “the” are Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary, they mean “husband” and “wife” respectively).
Back when I was little, whenever I go to a wedding with my parents they’d give this “husband and wife cake” to the guests. The cake is usually squared shaped, fit in the palm of my hands, wrapped in transparent cellophane sheets (or sometimes in boxes made out of coconut/banana leaves), bright green coloured, some sesame seeds sprinkled on top, with yellow mung beans and coconut filling. Take a bite, and it’s the perfect combination of the chewiness of the skin, the crunchiness of the coconut or papaya flakes, the richness of the mung bean filling, simple yet magically delicious. For some reasons though, this cake started disappearing as I grow up, and it has been a long time since I’ve last tasted one.
I would have never thought that I would be able to taste this cake again in France. My brother’s family was moving at the end of last month, and when I came to help my mom told me that there were a bit mung bean and tapioca flour left, and she wanted to make this cake with me. We spent a few hours in the afternoon making a dozen cakes. When the cakes finally cooled down, I unwrapped one and took a bite, and was immediately taken back to my childhood, as the cake is 90% the same as the store-bought ones (the other 10% is really, in my opinion, just because dried tapioca flour can’t really be compared to the fresh one).
The story of the origin of the “husband and wife” name for this cake has some variations, I will ửite dơn my favourite version at the end of this post so you can read if you’re interested.
Công thức tiếng Việt: Bánh phu thê (xu xê)
Recently I’m kinda addicted to chia seeds, every day when I have my desserts with fruits or yogurt I would always sprinkle some seeds on top, even when I drink juice or milk I would mix some in for added crunchiness. Chia seeds have been ‘famous’ for a long time already, so I am actually a bit late to the trend since I’ve only started eating and getting addicted to it for 2 weeks.
The benefits of chia seeds are almost endless. First and foremost is the fact that this tiny little seed contains a lot of antioxidant, so us girls should really adore chia seeds to stay young and beautiful 😉 chia seeds also contains little calories and lots of protein, so it’s a very suitable ingredient for diets since it makes you feel full longer and supress cravings. That’s not all, chia seeds have a lot of Omega 3, a type of fat that is really good for your body, especially for the vascular system. Furthermore chia seeds are 40% fiber, and we all know that fiber is really good for digestion.
Personally for me, besides all the health benefits listed above, the reason that I’m addicted to chia seeds is because it’s tasty, very very tasty! Chia seeds themselves don’t have any distinctive flavours, when you eat it as it is the texture is kinda crunchy like sesame seeds, and when soaked in liquids they absorb the liquid and turn into a gel like consistency. Because of that, chia seeds can be paired with a lot of other ingredients: sprinkle on top of baked goods for added crunchiness, soaked in milk or yogurt to create a pudding.
One of the dishes that I like the most from chia seeds is this Chia seeds and berries smoothies parfait, which can be used for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, and it’s both nutritious and delicious. Chia seeds is not the cheapest thing you can find (a 250g package sold in organic stores here costs €3,50), but for 2 pots of parfait like in this photo I only have to use around 15g of seeds, plus all the benefits of this seeds, I can say that this is definitely worth the price.
Công thức tiếng Việt: Parfait pudding hạt chia và sinh tố dâu
Nut brittle is a common name for a snack consisting of different kinds of nuts coated by hard sugar candy, and it’s usually served in the form of broken pieces (hence brittle) from a big chunk. The snack is named after the nut used (I used peanuts so it’s called peanut brittle).
I started looking into how to make this treat when I tried the Macadamia nut brittle flavour of Haagen Dasz and fell in love with the rich caramel taste that reminds me so much of the Alpenliebe candy I used to eat back home. I remembered that back then, the advertisements for Alpenliebe always emphasis on the love and care between couples, between family members, between friends, with the lovely tagline “Sweet as a loving embrace” (I think it’s now changed to “Connecting love”). Since Valentine is coming, I think is a very fitting gift to make and give to not only your lover but also to your family and friends, especially because the ingredients and the process of making this treat is so very simple. Plus, there is no glucose/corn syrup nor thermometer required for this recipe.
Công thức tiếng Việt: Kẹo đậu phộng ‘vỡ’ (Peanut brittle)
This Lunar New Year my family went back to Vietnam (except me), so my new year’s eve dinner was spent with my Vietnamese friends here in Paris. I, of course, volunteered to bring sweets and treats for tea time and desserts, and also to keep up the gift box ‘tradition’ from last year.
Bài viết tiếng Việt: Bánh kẹo ngày Tết
November just starts, the weather is turning into autumn, making its way to the market stands with the bright orange of pumpkin, squashes, the deep red of juicy apples. Autumn, for a lot of people, is the leaves turning yellow, the smell of cinnamon apple pies, the sweet pumpkin soup. For someone who is hopelessly imaginative like me, autumn is the season to put on my favorite coat, wear a light scarf, takea leisure walk between the trees and, the same time picking chestnuts, and then roast and enjoy the sweet nutty flavour.
For study-abroaders like me, especially girls, chetsnut picking is one of the fun activities in autumn. It’s a chance to hang out with friends, to take photos with the romantic background of autumn leaves, and then leaving with a bag full of delicious chestnuts When I first got intereted in chestnut picking, I found it strange that people have to go so far for chestnuts, while I saw a lot of what I thought to be chestnuts lying around on the streets, those like the ones in this photo.
Source: Reader’s digest
I read a bit online and found that those are called horse chestnuts, usually only used for decoration and are inedible becaus ethey are poisonous (fortunately I didn’t pick any and try to eat them ). I have friends who also made the same mistake as I did, and even Matthias thought the same thing before, so this post, beside sharing how to roast chestnut in an oven, I will also share how to distinguish horse chestnuts and sweet chestnuts, as well as chestnut picking spots that I know near Paris.
Bài viết tiếng Việt: Nhặt & nướng hạt dẻ
Summer in France is quite long this year, so it’s not until mid-September that there starts to be chilly days. Although it’s not yet frezzingly cold, the chill is enough for me to feel like snuggling in my blanket, read or watch something, and eat some of my favourite food. This chilly weather makes me think of peanut butter. I don’t know why but peanut butter always give me a very warm feeling, and when I feel like having a snack, a few slices of apple with peanut buttle is a very tasty and healthy choice.
Peanut butter can be used for breakfast with bread, o you can serve it with apple, banana or carrot as a snack, add a spoonful into a fruit smoothie, make a dipping sauce, or you can even use it in baking, the possibilities are endless. Making peanut butter is one of the simplest thing in the world, you only need to know how to turn on your blender/food processor, the ingredients are simple too soit’s worth it to make yourself a jar right
Công thức tiếng Việt: Tự làm bơ đậu phộng
I don’t really remember how I know of these cookies, since for kids born in the 90s like me these cookies are pretty much extinct (at least for me, because before making these cookies myself I don’t even know how they taste). It’s called ‘dipping cookies’ simply because when you make them, you mostly do…the dipping movement dipping the mold into the batter, then dipping the mold with the batter into the oil. I went back to Vietnam in summer 2014, I asked my mom to take me to the market to find this mold, and the sellers didn’t know what I was talking about as first, it took my mom a lot of describing for them to finally found me the molds.
I went back to France, feeling so excited with the molds, I looked for the recipe on the internet, read a bunch of tips and tricks, went straight into the kitchen to make them and…failed miserably. Either the cookies wouldn’t leave the mold, or the batter wouldn’t stick to the mold, I spent the whole afternoon trying, sweating like crazy, all my clothes and hair smelled like oil, and I ended up with around 10 cookies that were edible. To be honest, the cookies tasted incredible, but just thinking about fighting with the pot of oil and batter sends chills down my spine, so I just put the mold in the furthest corner of my cupboard after that time.
It was not until a few weeks ago, the weather was quite cool, I cleaned out my cupboard and saw the mold, and decided to give it another try. I was extra careful with the measurements this time, adjusted the heat of the oil, and tada…the cookies were a huge success!!! Looking at the cookies coming off the mold and slowly turn golden brown was an extremely satisfying feeling. After making these cookies a few more times, I have noted down some tips to successfully make them, which I will write down at the end of this post.
Công thức tiếng Việt: Bánh nhúng
In the gift box that I gave my friends last week, there was a treat called “Longan fruit crackers”, and this has received a lot of positive feedbacks, even from French friends who’ve tasted it for the first time. Even myself when I read and learnt how to make this dish, I thought that it is a very interesting snack. The ingredients are easy to find, it’s not so hard to make it, and the end result is really delicious ❤ it’s crunchy, slightly sweet, and even though it’s deep fried you don’t feel the oil at all, add a cup of tea and you can finish a whole big batch of this treat in no time
Even though it’s called “longan fruit crackers”, there’s no longan fruit in the ingredients. Rather, the name is only to describe its appearance which resembles a longan fruit. The traditional crackers are made with only glutinous rice flour or plain rice flour mixed with egg and sugar, some other recipes that I’ve read suggest replacing sugar with condensed milk for a bit more richness, and also to mix some plain rice flour into glutinous rice flour to keep the crackers crunchy for longer.
Công thức tiếng Việt: Bánh nhãn
This is my first year spending Lunar New Year, or Tết as we call it in Vietnamese, all alone (other years I have my brother’s family or my friends to celebrate with). Of course I was a bit sad, especially that my mom is in France this year, but I don’t have days off to go to Paris to spend it with her. Luckily I still have Skype to call my friends, and I have my little kitchen to make some treats for the occasion. Tết this year is pretty close to Valentine’s (it was on the 8th), so I wanted to make something that is suitable for both occasions to share with you guys, and Candied orange peel was the best choice.
February in France is usually very cold, and this treat goes so well with the atmosphere. The slightly tangy taste of orange peels combined with the sweetness from sugar and honey makes it feels very warm, and every time I make this treat, my kitchen is filled with the lovely fragrance of orange peels and honey. If chocolate is ‘reserved’ for couples during Valentine’s, then I feel like this candied orange peel makes a perfect gift for friends a family, to show your love for people that you care about.
Công thức tiếng Việt: Mùa của yêu thương: Mứt vỏ cam mật ong
Winter comes pretty late in France this year, so even though it’s already January, strawberries are still abundant in supermarkets. Every time I go grocery shopping I’d take 2-3 boxes of strawberry with me home. The strawberries are so juicy and sweet, that just eating them with yogurt is tasty enough.
However strawberries are quick to spoil, plus my fridge is quite small, so the boxes take a lot of places too, so I had to find ways to turn them into something else. I came across some posts and videos on Fruit roll-ups which are becoming a hype, so out of curiosity, I decided to give it a try, and was so pleased with the end result ❤
Fruit roll-ups are so easy to make, it just takes time. Nevertheless you don’t have to put much effort into making it, since it’s only waiting for the fruit puree to dry up in the oven. After that you will have some chewy and fruity roll up to please your sweet tooth. This can be given as a gift, or serve as snacks for kids and guests.
Công thức tiếng Việt: Kẹo hoa quả cuộn (Fruit roll-ups)